real war footage, video games, destruction
In 1992, ten year old Fatima Al Qadiri bought a copy of Desert Strike: Return to the Gulf, a top-down shooter game for Sega Megadrive based on Operation Desert Storm. A year prior, Kuwait’s inhabitants had experienced the apocalyptic vision of aerial bombings, air raid sirens, and skies filled with smoke from black oil fires. Time collapsed, schools closed, Fatima and her sister, Monira, spent their entire time at play-and began an addiction to video games that lasted for several years.
Playing “Desert Strike”, a game that coldly depicts strikes on civilian and military targets was an amalgamation of actual and virtual war game realities for Al Qadiri. This EP of original works is dedicated to the synthesis of terror and child-like wonder, to the strategies of imagination and gaming, while sonically paying homage to the militaristic futurism of early grime.
With sparse, decisive percussion, Desert Strike’s 5 tracks showcase Fatima’s melodic virtuosity. Intro Ghost Raid, named after “The Ghost” F-117A Nighthawk stealth fighter, launches an aerial bombardment that subsides to sand-blasted lull. Oil Well’s half time, freeform progression speaks to the seductive wealth beneath the earth’s surface. The cinematic crunk of War Games and the title track Desert Strike evoke virtual military action, the sound of toy drones seeking recursive targets. Lush and sparse Hydra reminds us of a vast, toxic horizon revived by streams of liquid life.